September 16, 2019 / 4:08 PM / a month ago

Portuguese auctioneer to sell seized Venezuelan oil tanker

LISBON/CARACAS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - An oil tanker belonging to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA that was taken over by Portuguese authorities last year due to lack of payment will be sold at auction for $6.4 million, auctioneer AgroLeiloes said on Monday.

The move marks the latest blow to cash-strapped PDVSA’s maritime unit, PDV Marina, which has lost control over tankers due to mounting unpaid bills to German firm Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which operated the ships.

PDVSA is also struggling to hire vessels due to U.S. sanctions on Venezuela.

The Parnaso has been moored in Portuguese waters since 2017 due to disputes with shipping firms, fuel providers and Lisbon’s Port Authority. Lisbon’s maritime court ruled in August 2018 to take possession of the Parnaso, which had been under BSM management.

A spokesman for AgroLeiloes told Reuters in a telephone interview that the auction will take place due to a decision by the maritime court, which also determined the ship’s price.

It has not yet been sold and will remain at the shipyard in the port of Setubal until agreement is reached with a buyer.

PDVSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Catarina Demony in Lisbon and Luc Cohen in Caracas; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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